Yes, Potty-Training Mishaps Do Belong On Facebook: So Get Over It

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Facebook overshare, parental overshare
Unable to vent on social media, the foster mom of a troubled teen finally understands all the TMI.

Having a child means that your life will be co-opted by a creature of chaos. That's just how kids are as they're learning to grapple with emotions, make sense of their world and, well, become 'people'. As a parent, your morning workout includes trying to get them to stop faffing around and put their shoes on. You lose the entire month of January to that bug that’s going around school. You read Goodnight, Moon so many times that you hide it so your kids will have to pick a different bedtime story just this once. Then, just when you think you have the hang of being a parent, your kid discovers the word, "no," or fart jokes, or the joys of teenage rebellion. And you have to learn how to manage a completely different child.

It’s unfair for us to expect moms to carry on through all this in silence. I used to coordinate software-testing efforts that involved dozens of people, and suddenly I found myself unable to get one teen to go to the grocery store with me. How can anyone wrap their mind around that alone? Of course we’re going to turn to social media for venting and bonding, just like we do with relationship issues, work drama and pop culture discussions.

These days, I eagerly respond to other moms’ blog posts and Tweets, assuring them that their children’s lying is a normal stage of development, and commiserating over how kids never reach for throw pillows when they’re looking for something to hurl at a sibling. And when a mom posts photos of her kid’s newest karate belt or shares something adorable they said, I know it's because she’s just thrilled that Junior hasn’t broken anything in the past hour.

And as for kids' future embarrassment over their potty training stories being shared with the world? Every human being who has ever lived has been toilet trained, from Julius Caesar to Napoleon to Queen Elizabeth, so there's really no point in pretending that it didn't happen to you, or that it wasn't messy. That said, when it comes to photographic evidence of the placentas, the exploded diapers and Junior’s first poop in the potty, I'd be happier if we all kept those in our private collections. I know I'm not the only one who checks Facebook during breakfast.

I've met many of my younger cousins' friends, and not one of them has taken the opportunity to ask me for embarrassing stories about my cousins. In ten years, are tweens really going to teasing each other over bedwetting incidents that their moms are blogging about now? I really don't think so. They'll be much more concerned about today’s zits than yesterday’s pacifiers.

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